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Top Five Documentaries About Obscure Musicians

It was a triumphant moment for music when Searching for Sugar Man won the Academy Award for best documentary last month. Yes, it was nice that after decades of anonymity, the subject of the movie, singer/songwriter Rodriguez got his day in the sun. But the award also validated what has, over the last decade, become the most consistently great genre in the world of film, the documentary about obscure musicians.

The story of the Beatles as told in The Beatles Anthology is crafted so well that you realize if the Beatles didn't exist, someone would have had to make them up. But everyone knows the Beatles did in fact exist. The genius of the documentary about the obscure musician is we are not entirely sure if it's made up or not.

If the goal of every movie is to give audiences a suspension of disbelief, the following five (supposedly true) movies are smash successes.

5. Anvil: The Story of Anvil (2008) 

This was billed as a real life

Spinal Tap. Anvil is a heavy metal band that trogged through hardship

for three decades. In spite of their awful music you can't help but root

for these underdogs to find success.


4. Searching For Sugar Man

(2012) 

Watching the saga of Rodriguez unfold in Searching for Sugar

Man, it seems impossible that a psychedelic troubadour who could give

Donovan and T Rex a run for their money would go unknown outside South

Africa for forty years. 


To see his recognition makes you melt in a way

Hollywood big budget movies never quite get right. Just delete from

your memory how Rodriguez's sound morphed into the realm of Jimmy

Buffet.


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David Rolland is a freelance writer for New Times Broward-Palm Beach and Miami New Times. His novel, The End of the Century, published by Jitney Books, is available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland

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